Monday, June 16, 2014

Why I make my children share. An answer to a recent anti-share blog article

Why I Make My Children Share

I recently read an article about a woman who doesn't make her children share.
When I seen the title of the article I was taken aback. But, curiosity made me read it. I thought it might be one of those parenting practices I hadn't yet tapped into that was going to offer some great strategy at play time that I hadn't thought of. It didn't. It was just as the title lead me to believe. This mom proudly doesn't make her child share.
Now I don't respond to every article I read, very few in fact, but the more I thought about this one the more I just had to get it out.

This mom basically said it boiled down to not giving into all her child's wants. I'm paraphrasing, of course but that was the gist of the story. And while I can certainly understand and even appreciate not wanting to cultivate that greedy trait, I'm going to say that teaching your child not to share, in fact, does just that. Her article had some valid points, or valid reasons behind the strategy, but I, personally, just feel she was totally missing the mark and possibly creating more issues down the line.
Teaching your child to hoard all his toys, or a toy that he claim first on the play ground, gives him the sense of entitlement all on it's own. However, sharing demonstrates and cultivates kindness, compassion and empathy. Something our society could use a whole lot more of. But wrapping your arms around all your goodies just because they are yours is greedy, and stingy and just plain ugly.

I don't believe that my son having Legos shared with him on a play date will make him grow up and snatch the iPhone28 out of someone's hand because he wants it. And to even suggest it is absurd. But teaching him the empathy that sharing is born from will (hopefully) teach him to be giving and think about those who don't have...don't have toys, don't have food, don't have clothes, don't have friends.
Furthermore, I feel by teaching our child to work for a desired item...the newest Wii U game for example- saving up and waiting until they have enough will go much farther to teach the lessons against entitlement. Making my son wait until Christmas Day to open presents, not giving my other child a gift on his brother's birthday, not celebrating every single milestone (really, do we need preschool, kindergarten, 1st grad, 4th grade, 8th grade graduations??? Isn't THAT a bit much??), NOT getting a trophy just because they were on the team...or I dunno, not getting on the team if they don't demonstrate the skills?? Maybe adopting approaches like these will help raise a society of caring individuals who don't feel like they deserve a raise just because they show up to work every day? (as the a fore mentioned article suggested)

So, that's my take on it. I will continue to make my sons share their toys. With few exceptions. If one of them has a special toy, I will allow them to put that toy up and out of view before a play date comes over. They don't have to share any of the toys they put up before hand. Sure, making kids share is more parenting work but no one ever said this job was easy. It's going to be hard. It should be hard. We are molding our future society. It's going to take work. And I'm ok with that. We would share with the lady and her child from the article that inspired this post.

(p.s. when I use the word "make", it isn't physically making them share. My five year old is very giving and kind who loves to share with everyone...well, except his little brother some of the time. My two year old, on the other hand, does take a more hands on approach :) So, when you read the word "make" please don't think that it automatically implies a fight every time.)

the views and opinions expressed above are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect that of TNM or it's contributors.

1 comment:

  1. I read that article too... if I had replied it would not have been nearly as well articulated as your response. You hit the nail on the head! The thought of not wanting to teach your child to share baffles me. The article was well written, making some points but like you said totally missed the mark. When my child wants to play with something I make him wait until the other child is done. If my sons play date had a mom with this view, we simply wouldn't be visiting again. I will never make my son hand over the toy immediately or expect a child to do that for him. I will however tell him that he can share when he is done and give him a couple of minutes with it.